ATLANTA — Considering the youth of his team and the talent and experience disadvantage against a state-ranked opponent in McEachern, Brookwood coach Philip Jones was well aware his team had its hands full in its game in the 2019 Corky Kell Classic.
The Indians, ranked No. 9 in the Georgia Sports Writers Association’s preseason poll, hammered that point home, rolling up 478 yards in total offense and running away with a 48-10 win Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Carlos Delrio-Wilson was McEachern’s (1-0) big weapon, completing 15 of 18 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns, including five of those completions and one score to Javon Baker for 142 yards.
It made for some painful lessons for a very young Broncos (0-1) team, but one Jones and his staff are confident they will learn from and become better because of.
“That was an extremely talented team we just played,” Jones said. “They’ve got excellent players at every position and a lot of experience, and that definitely showed.
“We’re very young. We have seven players on defense under the age of 16 years old, and we’ve got a 15-year-old quarterback about half the time. We knew we were young (coming in), but we have an extremely determined group that is very close and unified. They fought for 48 minutes. They never gave up. ,,, What I told them in the locker room was that the only thing holding us back is experience and the details. Our young kids have just got to keep playing.”
The fight the Broncos showed helped them stay within shouting distance throughout the first three quarters, though McEachern drew first blood midway through the first period by taking advantage of Chief Borders’ interception of Brookwood’s freshman quarterback Dylan Lonergan that set the Indians up at the Broncos’ 33-yard line.
Four plays later, Christian Mason found the end zone from 2 yards out to put McEachern in front 7-0.
The Indians struck twice more in the second quarter on a pair of Delrio-Wilson scoring strikes, the first from 8 yards to Gary Simpson with 11:07 left in the first half and the other an 8-yard connection to Baker with 24 seconds left in the half to take a 20-0 lead into intermission.
But the Broncos came out of the halftime break showing the fight Jones describe to briefly get back in the game.
What was designed as a short kick to minimize the explosiveness of McEachern return game turned into a big break when junior Trey Staley hustled to the play and pounced on the loose ball before a returner could get to it, setting Brookwood up at the Indians’ 32-yard line.
Three snaps later, Lonergan hit Conley Davis for a 30-yard completion down to the McEachern 5, and Tyler Knight bulled into the end zone on the next play for a touchdown that pulled the Broncos to within 20-7 with 10:44 left in the third quarter.
“You can avoid a return on that, and if (the opponent) is not prepared for it, what happened (Saturday) night can happen,“ Jones said. “We got a big play out of it, and we turned it into a touchdown and got a little momentum going our way. So it was a good thing.”
That momentum didn’t last long, as McEachern answered with a nine-play, 82-yard march that lasted less than three-and-a-half minutes, with Jordan Simmons finishing it off with a 3-yard TD run to pushed the Indians’ lead back to three scores at 28-7 following Bryce Archie’s two-point conversion pass to Kris Benson.
Still, Brookwood kept grinding away, with co-staring quarterback Jack Spyke hitting Dominck Byrd on a 35-yard completion to bring the Broncos into the red zone, where they eventually got a 28-yard Jake Cartmill field goal to pull to within 28-10 with 5:39 left in the half.
But McEachern’s experience and talent were just too much, as the Indians overwhelmed the young Broncos on their next two possessions, scoring in just three plays on Mason’s 9-yard TD run to make the lead 34-10 with 4:32 left in the quarter, and the needing just three more plays on their next possession to make it 41-10 on Sutton Smith’s 2-yard scoring run with 2:51 left in the period.
McEachern then tacked on another score with 1:10 left in the fourth quarter on Benson’s 36-yard TD pass to Caleb Brown to close out the scoring.
Other highlights for Brookwood on the evening included a combined 196 passing yards by Lonergan and Spyke, 105 receiving yards on five catches for Davis, and a key fumble recovery by Sean Hill.
McEACHERN 48, BROOKWOOD 10
Brookwood 0 0 10 0 ― 10
McEachern 7 13 21 7 ― 48
McEachern: Christian Mason 2 run (Billy Dominiquez kick), 5:49
McEachern: Gary Simpson 8 pass from Carlos Delrio-Wilson (kick failed), 11:07
McEachern: Javon Baker 8 pass from Delrio-Wilson (Denzell Moore kick), 3:09
Brookwood: Tyler Knight 5 run (Jonah Randle kick), 10:44
McEachern: Jordan Simmons 2 run (Kris Benson pass from Bryce Archie), 7:54
Brookwood: Jake Cartmill 28 FG, 5:39
McEachern: Mason 9 run (run failed), 4:32
McEachern: Sutton Smith 2 run (Moore kick), 2:51
McEachern: Caleb Brown 36 pass from Benson (Moore kick), 1:10